The Polish American Librarians Association has become an organizational member of the American Library Association, with additional membership in the Ethnic Materials & Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). Formally joining ALA as an organization is a step toward the goal of applying for official affiliation in 2017.
“From its founding in 2010, PALA has discussed applying to become an ALA affiliate,” says PALA President Leonard Kniffel, “but to do so requires a track record as a sustainable organization with a membership of at least 100 people. PALA membership peaked a couple years ago at 120 but has been in decline. We are sending a plea to all of our supporters, past and present, to vote for affiliation with their membership dollars.”
Becoming the 27th ALA Affiliate would put PALA on a par with other ethnic affiliates such as the Chinese American Librarians Association and Reforma: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. Benefits of affiliation include publicity and meeting room space for PALA meetings scheduled during the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, program co-sponsorship privileges, the right to reserve a sleeping room sub-block for members, free Annual and Midwinter registration for the official PALA representative, complimentary meeting room space for board meetings, participation in the affiliates booth in the exhibit hall, and subscription to the ALA affiliates list, which serves as a communication tool for all affiliates throughout the year.
Membership in PALA includes free admission to the association’s Annual Meeting, a daylong networking opportunity–scheduled for June 23 this year to coincide with the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago–as well as the quarterly PALA Mine e-newsletter, and the ongoing resources on the PALA website for librarians serving the Polish community.